Definition of heirloom in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈerlo͞om/


1A valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.
Example sentences
  • She looked around the room slowly, her eyes taking in everything from the expensive paintings and family heirlooms dotted around the room, to the Oriental rug.
  • Some include journal entries or family heirlooms such as recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation.
  • The situation hasn't quite reached the stage where pre-bookings are handed down through the generations like family heirlooms, but getting a pitch at peak times is difficult.
1.1 [as modifier] chiefly North American Denoting a traditional variety of plant or breed of animal that is not associated with large-scale commercial agriculture: his garden is filled with heirloom vegetables free-range heirloom pork
More example sentences
  • There are many good reasons to incorporate more heirloom varieties into your gardening.
  • He is dedicated to organic growing principles and supplying gardeners with great heirloom vegetable varieties.
  • I have a friend who grows Italian heirloom vegetables as a link to his Italian ancestry.


Late Middle English: from heir + loom1 (which formerly had the senses 'tool, heirloom').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: heir·loom

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.